Cancer does not develop overnight. It is estimated that as much as 50% of cancer is preventable or curable if detected at an early stage.
With cancer treatments improving alongside better specialist knowledge of how cancer develops, life beyond cancer has improved dramatically. However, cancer continues to be a tremendous burden on both the individuals and community resources.
The FCIC is one of few centres in Australia with the proven capabilities and the combination of expertise required to fully address the science of cancer prevention.
Our approaches to finding tools to prevent cancer include:
Biology of cancer
Exploring the processes that turn a normal cell into a cancerous one helps us understand what causes cancer to develop. Exploring how the body deals with cells that are damaged or carry pre-cancer mutations can help us understand how to stimulate the body’s own mechanisms to boost protection from cancer. The ultimate goal of this research is to gain the knowledge we need to reduce the risk of cancer.
Improving screening tools to find cancer earlier (such as creating tests to detect pre-cancer lesions) increases the chance of the very best treatment outcomes. Our researchers have a strong multi-disciplinary approach to cancer screening research that spans molecular research into detecting pre-cancer and cancer states, development of screening tests, expertise in high cancer-risk surveillance programs, and behavioural research into factors that improve participation in screening.
Finding biomarkers for cancer increases the ability to find cancer earlier, resulting in better outcomes. Biomarkers can also be used to follow response to treatments, or to determine the best treatment options.
Working with the community to understand how best to influence positive lifestyle changes and create awareness of how to avoid cancer is an essential area of prevention research. This area of study aids in the development of clinical tools and resources to increase the level of participation in healthy lifestyle programs. By exploring community behaviours researchers can gain insight into how best to motivate people to engage in screening programs, make lifestyle changes and participate in health programs.
The study of health patterns and trends within a population lead to the identification of disease risk factors and possible preventative measures. From epidemiology we understand how often diseases occur, who is at a higher risk of disease and what future trends could be identified and prevented.